Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Bowel Pressure and constipation
About This Forum:

This is a place to ask questions about digestive problems and receive a personal answer from a highly qualified doctor. You will also find support from other members who share your interest in digestive disorders. Digestive Disorders include: Anal and Rectal problems, Barrett’s Esophagus, Bleeding in the Stomach and Digestive Tract, Constipation, Crohn’s Disease, Gastritis, GERD, Heartburn, Proctitis, Short Bowel Syndrome, Ulcers, Whipple’s Disease, Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (and many more).

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Bowel Pressure and constipation

Hello,
I am a 38-year-old woman who has suffered from chronic constipation from infancy, (when drinking only breast milk).  I have been battling my weight since childhood, (even with exercise and partaking of a
Related Discussions
233190_tn?1278553401
Difficult to say without exam.  

There are various GI tests that can be considered to rule out a variety of causes.  If an anatomical obstruction is considered, a colonoscopy would be the most comprehensive test.  

If negative, a CT scan can be considered to look for adhesions.  

More specialized testing, including motility studies or defecography can be considered looking for any problems with bowel motility.

Metabolic causes like thyroid disorders can also lead to constipation.

These options can be discussed with your personal physician.  Another GI opinion, preferably at a major academic medical center, can be considered as well.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
kevinmd_
14 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Weight issues and long-lasting, severe constipation would indicate possible hypothyroidism. Ask for a thyroid panel!

This is a case where going to a doctor is the appropriate course of action. If you are hypothyroid, laxatives will only mask the symptom and likely make it worse, meanwhile other problems (HBP, depression which can include anxiety, etc) can occur/worsen.

Also seek a mental health professional for the phobia issues. Of course getting the physical issues dealt with will help.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Women who suffer from Hypothyroidism have heavy menstruation flow.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your comment.  :O)

I have had thyroid  tests and they have turned out normal.  I also see a psychiatrist and a therapist regularly.  My blood pressure is normal so is my cholesterol and I do not have diabetes.  Whatever the problem is, I was born with it.  I
Blank
148354_tn?1211237506
Hi mel I can relate to all your symptoms..i've been through so many testing  and laparscopy last few months to find out what is causing severe abdominal pain,  50lb weight loss ,altered bowel movements and severe anxiety for 4 months,im 28 yrs old,and lately refuse to eat because of discomfort it causes.But I found a solution since i can only tolerate liquids and to prevent constipation is this shake..and actually avoiding food will make constipation worse..no food..no stool,gotta eat to push it out! also boost drinks with benefiber is good too,and activia yogurt.
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup kashi go lean crunch cereal
1 cup fat free milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder
1 tablespoon barleans flax oil (sold at health food stores)

Good luck  and hope your feeling better soon!
Blank
148354_tn?1211237506
also forgot to add that using laxatives alot will make constipation worse,i've had bouts i overused them to only find it got to point i couldnt go on my own which caused more anxiety.I'm currently taking paxil  and of course side effect is constipation...battle constipation or deal with anxiety? it can be mentally grueling! drinks lots of water and be sure to take fiber suppelments if your not getting it from food.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am a 22 year old female, I there are a lot of times where I can not have a bowel movement. These periods could go on for 3 weeks up to a 1 1/2 months. I have notice that my stomach will hurt for maybe 5 mins (usually more than 3 times daily)so bad that I can't move (all I can do is lay down). I have tries laxatives (they do not work). I have no clue what it might be.
Thank You
Blank
148354_tn?1211237506
3 weeks to month without bowel movement ? omg that has to feel painful! you need to see a dr,ask about zelmorn,might work for you,that is serious to go so long without bowel movement..could be some kind of blockage,go get yourself checked out.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Has anyone tried the Stanford Protocol? This is the program about which the book "A Headache in the Pelvis" was written, and because I am desperate, I am considering it.  Over the past fifteen years my life has become a nightmare:  either terrible rectal pressure and constipation, and even when not constipated, excruciating rectal and anal pain.  Have seen many doctors, been through all the (gross and humiliating) tests and gotten no diagnosis,no help, not even anything for the pain; tried internal massage, acupuncture, cranial-sacral therapy, etc.
And of course can't take pain-killers or even anti-depressants because of their impact on the digestive system. (and in this country getting what one needs to end life is extremely difficult, and that's something one doesn't want to botch!)

so, if anyone has any experience with stanford, before i attempt to somehow get across the country (and spend a lot of money),
i'd love to hear it, as well as anything else (Cleveland Clinic?) that has actually done something more than a lot of testing!
many thanks.
cobbrina

(dragons fire, are you on this list and have you gotten anywhere? your posts sounded so sadly familiar to me.)


Blank
Avatar_n_tn
hello, i've been reading everyone's stories and comments and thought id share mine in the hope that someone might be able to help. in 24, and for that last 6-8 yrs have not been able to have a bowel movement on my own. i dont have any serious bowel disease or what not, just IBS, and its absolutely frustrating that **** out of me - soul distroying. my life consists of eating ONLY small amounts of fruit and dairy products, and for some strange reason, as many lollies as i like - but thats it! and once a week, i have a bowel washout which is the most aweful thing. i take the picoprep solutions at home (ie. the preps they give you if your going to have a colonoscopy), then drink 4-6litres of fluid, and when i look about 9mths pregnant and my tummy litterally feels like its tearing i go to the toilet. ive had every test under the sun, tried naturapathy, accupunture, hynotherapy, high fibre diets, exercising, etc. etc. pretty much everything someone suggests, ive tried it. i only so much as have to have one tiny bite of a vegetable, or bread, or meat, or fish or pasta, or any other than what i listed i can eat above and i end up screaming in agony having morphene shots at the hospital followed by more bowel washouts. i need help! i cant find anyone like me, and the doctors think its fine to live like this...
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I'm 23 years old and have had stool problems pretty much all my life. Before having problems with constepation the stool i passed was always large and very hard, I was always afraid to use any other toilets besides my own because I clogged toilets on a regular basis. i passed stool regulary though, usually everyday, 2 days at most. In high school I started having problems with consteption, i usually passed stool once a week. Over the last year though it has worstened rather quickly. it would sometimes be agonizing to pass stool, sometimes causing tearing. It got to the point that I would absolutely have to use stool softener. I resorted to using the Fleet enemas you get from the stoore, it was the only thing that worked. Over the last two months though it has stopped working. I hadn't passed stool for over a month and a half until today. The last 3 weeks have been horrible; bad abdominal pain and so forth. I havn't slept for 3, I tried all sorts of ideas I've read about on the internet. I couldn't go to the doctor since my insurance policy expired four months ago and i'm currntly unemployed. this morning I knew I couldn't go on like I had been anymore. So i used two bottles of the fleet enema and waited a good 45 minutes. The need to evacuate was so strong that there was agonizing pressure and my body was shaking uncontrolably. The enemas did nothing, the stool was very hard and wide and passed very slowly. I've never had such agonizing pain in my life. I knew I had to pass as much as i could though. For three hours i passed agonizing stool. My abdominal pain subsided but i got sick right away. All day now i've felt nausea and have horrible cold sweats, i can't eat and i can barely drink liquids. All i can do is lay on my couch, the moment i get up i feel so weak. I don't know what to do and the worst part is that there is still more stool i need to pass but can't. I'm scared that this is something very serious. Any ideas on what I should do about this??
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I really feel for you Shaka, and everyone else that has had such problems.  I didn't know chronic constipation was sooo prevalent.  I don’t feel alone any more.  Shaka, you sound so much like me.  I’ve also had excruciating pain with going to the bathroom.  This is a problem that has plagued my life and ruined my childhood.  This is more than just a physical problem, it has caused sever emotional trauma.  I never used public toilets when I was a kid and rarely used friend’s toilets either.  I was, (and still am, though not as bad) very phobic about it and spent most of my childhood hysterically crying on the toilet or gagging down the tablespoons of castor oil my parents forced down my throat.  I thought I was the only one with, not only physical tribulations associated with chronic, painful constipation but emotional ones as well.

I’d like to post an update and maybe it might be helpful for someone else.  

Okay, I started having my problem in the end of July beginning of Aug.  I was having great difficulty passing stool, in fact I could not pass anything until I took laxative and even then I could not get it all out.  This was very normal for me, however this time I just felt there was something else wrong.  This went on for a couple of weeks and I finally sought help from my primary care physician.  This was the first time in my life that I had went for help with this problem.  My constipation usually cleared up within a few days with a laxative or two and I was okay for a month or even two, then back to the laxatives.  But this time it felt different.

I told my Dr. what was going on and told him that my aunt had died of colon cancer and the fact that I’d had this all my life and was quite paranoid about it.  He sent me for a barium enema that I had to nervously wait a month for.  In the mean time, in desperation I went to the emergency room hoping they could give me some tests to find out what was wrong.  I was losing weight rapidly because I was not eating and I was feeling bloated and in a pain all the time and very weak.  I was given a rectal exam and the ER Dr. told me that he didn’t feel anything.  They sent me for x-rays but nothing showed up.  Finally after about 8 hrs they sent me home and told me to just follow up with that B.E I had scheduled.

After agonizing for a month over the thought of having this procedure I went and had the Barium Enema done.  I broke down on the table and started to cry, shake and hyperventilate.  The Dr and nurse were so nice and were a little afraid to continue, but I finally calmed down a bit and they continued.  The next day after my Dr. called and told me the report came back and that I had a “large amount of retained stool” high up in my colon.  He told me to go back to the emergency room and have a high enema.  I was stunned that he would be so lackadaisical and heartless to just flippantly give me that advice.

I went home and did research on the internet and found out what a “high enema” was.  I decided it was something that I could do at home and not have to go back to the E. R. I did a lot of reading and bought almost $60 worth of herbs and started to give myself enema after enema…no luck.  After about a week of that, (still not eating) I went back to the Dr and demanded a referral to a specialist.  After about a week I was able to go see the G. I. specialist.  He said I probably had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (which I didn’t believe I had, but hey, he’s the doc) and prescribed me some medication, (which my insurance didn’t cover and I had to pay $200 for!) and a put me on an IBS diet.  He made an appointment with me for a colonoscopy but I would have to wait 3 months.  I got on the call list in case someone canceled and went home to wait.  I ate the IBS diet for two days and got horribly constipated again and had to take harsh laxatives and more enemas to get a little of it out.  The medication didn’t work either.  So I continued to eat nothing and wait.

About a month later I was able to get an appointment for the colonoscopy, and even though I was not as hysterical as I was for the B. E. I was still very nervous and emotional.  To my shock it did not hurt at all, and, in fact, I don’t ever remember it!  I was given 1 and a half doses of Demerol and that was the easiest procedure I had during this whole ordeal.  Note: if you’re on any kinds of sleep aides, (I take 15 mgs. of Ambien a night) you will a little more sedation medication.  Unfortunately he was not able to complete the colonoscopy because there was too much impacted stool.  When I came around I was devastated that he was not able to tell me anything.  The nurse told me to either go back to the E. R. or my primary physician to have it removed!  She also told me that the B. E. I had probably made it worse.  SO IF ANYONE IS TOLD TO HAVE A BARIUM ENEMA, GET A SECOND OR THIRD OPINION, BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE YOUR CONSTIPATION WORSE!!!  I was a bit upset at the G. I. Dr because he did not remove the stool when I was sedated and he had a chance.  The nurse gave me a prescription for Lactulose, which produced runny stool, however I was not eating anything, so I guess that was just stuff left over from before I stopped eating or maybe from some vegetable broth.

After a bit more time I went to the E. R. of a different hospital hoping they could remove it because I knew my inept primary Dr would/could not do anything.  The Dr and nurses were all very nice and ordered a cat scan for me.  Finally, after 3 months and 45 pounds I had an answer!  The cat scan should have been the FIRST thing done NOT the B. E. and/or the colonoscopy.  Anyway, they saw that I had a ball, 4 ½ inchs in diameter, of impacted stool 6” or 7” up in the rectum.  The E. R. doc said that he could “try” and remove it but didn’t feel comfortable with it.  I was very afraid was crying and we decided that we would go home and call a specialist (the Dr gave us a referral to a G. I. specialist).  Monday morning I called the G. I. Dr and was told that they do not remove impacted stool.  I called the G. I. Dr that preformed the colonoscopy and was also told they do not remove stool.  They told me again to go back to my family Dr.  I explained to them that he doesn’t do that either…even IF he could reach it.  They had no answer for me.  I was spiraling into hopelessness and deep despair.  No one would help me.  

About a week after that, one of my friends gave me the number to her family Dr.  She said that she also had had a medical problem that she could not get any help with and this Dr. saved her life.  I immediately went home and called him and he gave me an appointment for 4 days later.  I live out in the country pretty far from anything so his office is 1 and a half hrs away, but I didn’t care.  That was Tuesday, November 7th.  He admitted me to the hospital, (about 3 hrs from my home) that day.  He told me that since I had had this problem since infancy that my colon might have to be removed, but there was tests that could be preformed that could tell us were the problem was.  Apparently the only function of the colon is to take the liquid out of the stool so that it’s solid but soft when eliminated.  To have part, (or most of) my colon removed would be drastic and would give me diarrhea but after 38 years of constipation I didn’t care.

The next morning in the hospital a G. I. Dr. visited me and told me that he would be performing a colonoscopy and biopsy, (removal of the stool)  I was very happy.  The next day a surgeon came by and talked to me and my husband about the colon surgery that I might have to have.  We asked a lot of questions about removing my colon and he told me he would confer with my family dr. (NOT my primary, which I am now in the process of changing over) so they could schedule a “Motility Test” to find out where the problem with my colon is.  He told me that some times there are nerves that just do not form that causes the colon to not work right.  This “motility test” would tell us of any problems.  He also said that the diarrhea that I would experience after having my colon removed would not be uncontrollable, however I would probably have 6 or 7 lose BMs a day.  The surgeon said after the “motility test” we could talk more about medication or weather to have the surgery to remove my colon.  

I was told that a “motility test” consists of drinking a barium solution and then swallowing “markers” (I guess like little pills???) then having a cat scan-like procedure done to see how my body was digesting the markers, i.e. how long it takes to go through my colon and if there are any parts of my colon that the markers were “hanging up on” or could not get through at all.  

So, 3 days after I was admitted to the hospital the G. I. specialist preformed a colonoscopy and removed the ball of impacted stool.  It took him about 40 minutes and I was discharged about 2 hrs later.  

I have lost 50 pounds in the last 3 and a half months but I am ecstatic that it’s out and that I have a good Dr. now.  I have been eating since the day after I was discharged, (on November the 10th, 3 days ago) though I am eating lightly and only healthy foods.  My Dr. prescribed Polyethylene Glycol 3350, NF Powder.  I take 17G (about 1 heaping Tbs) a day.  I have not noticed anything, but am continuing to take it, of course.  I have had several very lose BMs since the removal, a little of which was what was left from the impacted stool that the G. I. Dr didn’t get.  I have also been taking herbal stool softeners, cleansing herbs and a natural remedy for hemorrhoids.

Anyway, this whole ordeal has taken 3 ½ months and I’ve lost 50 pounds, (which is good, however I lost it too fast and have saggy skin now) and have gone through vast emotional turmoil.  This has been the worse thing that has ever happened to me.  My friends and family and even they guys at my husband’s work have all been very concerned about me.  Just about the only one who didn’t care too much was my primary care physician.  

Like I said, I’m in the process of having my primary care physician changed from this old country Dr. to the Dr. that helped me through all of this.  We live far up in the hills and pretty far away from anything and my insurance was giving me trouble because my new Dr is farther than 30 miles away from my home, (but so is most everything) so I feel a fight coming.

If others are having this problem I would insist on having a cat scan and then a “MOTILITY TEST”.  This will help in determining what’s wrong.  I hope this helps.  Hang in there, things will get better.  You’re not alone.
Mel
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
sorry about the long post and the evadently uncompatability of some of my punctuation marks from Microsoft Word to this program.
Mel
Blank
148354_tn?1211237506
Hi,sorry to hear about all your going through,it helps to know I'm not alone,or crazy!I'm slowly getting answers to my probs,(abdominal,pelvic,rectal pain)for last 9 months and 90lb weight loss (im 5ft 130lbs now)few fecal impactions, I also couldnt eat,usually refused.All my life had bowel probs,constipation usually,but bouts of diarrhea too,nothing to severe, could tolerate it (ibs)had many procedures,colonscopy,laparscopy,barium studies,everything normal,3 weeks ago had appendix out,it was nothing but gangrene,I was sick with that for 2 months,week later back in er,ultrasound showed 5cm ovarian cyst on right ovary,great!after appendix out,still having probs, went back to colon and rectal specialist,said I had minor rectal and uterus prolaspe,lifelong habit of straining ,and being overweight,(no kids)so now my mornings are hell,cannot pass stool, if I do takes hrs cause of prolapse, even a soft stool i cant pass and gets stuck! he explained it causes a "fuctional blockage" cuz of uterus prolaspe it bears down on rectum preventing passage of stool and  causing difficult bowel movements,I also experience alot of "stool leakage" which i hate cuz im a clean person!
      This not only physically takes a toll,but mentally.I have anxiety issues over this and will only use bathroom at home.I hate to leave my house,if i do leave I will put on depend diapers cuz of leakage. I quit my job as a cosmetolgist (im 28)Even after bowel movement,if i have one,I have such pressure,pain,and urge for bm constantly I just lay on couch in tears.Right now looks like drs dont want to do much,but I cant picture my life going on like this much longer and this pain!
   I feel for all of you,it is literally is a living nightmare,but there is always hope,and I wish the best to all of you!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
.
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
469720_tn?1388149949
Blank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank